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LinkedIn’s leading ladies talk PR, tech, and changing the world

As a career professional, can you imagine a world without LinkedIn? It would be like trying to function without a pencil in a one-room schoolhouse. Ridiculous. LinkedIn has essentially replaced the need for business cards, since you can basically use it as a modern day Rolodex. #Connections. Furthermore, if you’ve ever looked for a job, […]


PR’s Past, Present and Future as told by Sally Falkow

When it comes to PR prowess and expertise, there are not many individuals who possess both in droves like Sally Falkow. As president of PRESSfeed and one of the industry’s leading minds on new technology and digital PR, Ms. Falkow brings over 30 years of PR experience to the table. Sal (as she often signs […]


Tech Talk With Sir Mix-A-Lot

I get a lot of email. Like, A LOT. My team often teases me that my inbox and calendar look more like an anti-productivity war zone than the carefully color-coded, organized chaos it actually is. There is a method to my madness, people! Back in January, I received an email that basically made my year, […]


How to hire: words of wisdom from our fave Chief Talent Officer

One of the biggest challenges young companies face is scaling. More specifically, how to put together a team with the right people; then grow and cultivate that talent as the company expands. If you’re an entrepreneur currently seeking engineers, you know exactly what I’m talking about here!

We color ourselves grateful to have some talented domain experts assisting us in finding the hungriest, smartest problem solvers out there to join our burgeoning company. Specifically, we’re grateful for Elizabeth Patterson, Chief Talent Officer at our lead investment firm, Mohr Davidow Ventures.

With over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in the Technology, Lifestyle, and Consumer sectors, Miss Elizabeth is a rare breed. Not only is her breadth of experience vast and wide ranging, her passion is infectious.

After bugging her only once, she graciously offered to share some of her insights and expertise on what it really takes to attract top talent in today’s competitive market; and why cultivating community should always be at the heart of everything you do.

Elizabeth PattersonRebekah Iliff: As the Chief Talent Officer at Mohr Davidow Ventures, can you tell us a little about the responsibilities of your role and how you approach your relationship with the various companies in MDV’s portfolio?

Elizabeth Patterson: I lead Mohr Davidow’s strategy for attracting and securing top talent for our portfolio companies. Part of my charter is to help high-performance entrepreneurs hone their leadership effectiveness. One of the programs I am most excited about is our community event series, #MohrDavidowMeets, which is designed to inspire our entrepreneurs and fast-track connections. I feel it is important to always approach these relationships with authenticity and empathy.

RI: Since you you play a critical role in aiding the firm’s portfolio companies in identifying and securing top talent, I’m sure you’ve seen it all. What are 2-3 key takeaways you can share from those companies who have had great success in attracting top talent?

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Getting inside the brain of Shonali Burke

There are PR folks who get it; then there are PR folks who get it. Shonali Burke falls into the latter category.

As the CEO of a PR business, Shonali is:

#1 – A self-professed measurement + social media geek and constantly champions PR measurement (no wonder we love her).

#1 – An educator dropping knowledge on future public relations pros at Johns Hopkins University.

#2 – A PR conversationalist extraordinaire: as such she hosts the monthly Twitter   chat (on which I will be the featured guest tomorrow from 12-1pm ET #shamelessplug).

After running into Shonali at nearly every PR Measurement related event in 2014, I figured it was high time to transfer the knowledge from her brain onto digital paper and share accordingly.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a peek into the wonderfully informed mind of Shonali Burke.

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Photo by Cade Martin Photography

Rebekah Iliff: You’ve talked for years about “smart measurement” that is outcome focused. Give us a peek into the Burke brain: What’s an example of a recent objective you and your team identified and how did you work backwards from that goal to identify the associated KPI?

Shonali Burke: We recently wrapped a project with a client in the education space; they were launching a new online offering. Registrations were the ultimate goal, and they were using campaign tracking in Google Analytics very well. What we did was to ensure the creation of tracking links to the relevant page, so that we could attribute visits and conversions from our efforts – our strategy had a mix of earned, owned and paid media – as accurately as possible.

Based on traffic and conversion trends, we could see what worked (social and paid) and what didn’t so much (focusing on location too narrowly as opposed to niche and interest). That allowed us to pivot our strategy midway through the campaign and put more muscle behind what *was* working as opposed to what wasn’t… and ultimately reach the goal.

RI: Love the integrated approach. It is so important for PR peeps (and clients for that matter) to think beyond earned media. Given your propensity for metrics, what’s the one thing every PR pro needs to know about PR measurement as 2014 rolls to a close?

SB: There is no silver bullet.

RI: True dat. With that in mind, PR pros need to think carefully about how they measure and quantify their efforts. What are 2 of your favorite tools that assist you in providing your clients with smart measurement?

SB: I actually have three: Microsoft Excel (or Google Spreadsheets), Google Analytics… and the one thing we all have and should use – a brain.

RI: Ahhhh, yes. The almighty brain. Since you are constantly talking about PR measurement and metrics, what’s one thing you keep hearing yourself say over and over again that you wish the industry would just “get”?

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Dell, OneSpot, and AirPR on the New PR/Marketing Frontier

This week we bring you a guest post from Dell’s managing editor, the incomparable Ms. Stephanie Losee. Ms. Losee has been leading the brand journalism/content marketing charge for quite some time, so it only seemed fitting that we turn her loose on two of our favorite CEOs. We hope you enjoy this illuminating exchange!

Stephanie_Losee_HeadshotHow much longer are PR teams going to talk about “getting a seat at the table” of their organizations’ leadership? Steve Sachs, CEO of OneSpot, and Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, CEO of AirPR are trying to put an end to that conversation. Both companies have launched platforms that attempt to give communications teams the numbers they need to prove their value once and for all.

Stephanie Losee: What do your platforms do? How do they compare to each other?

SFM headshotSharam Fouladgar-Mercer: AirPR is a technology platform to increase and measure PR performance. We currently have two products. Marketplace matches technology companies and innovative brands with the top PR professionals and small firms in the country. AirPR’s first-to-market measurement solution, Analyst, uses machine learning and proprietary technology to measure the ROI of PR. The product analyzes digital media activities from traffic to conversion to projected and/or actual revenue in addition to a variety of factors about your brand.

steve sachs headshotSteve Sachs: OneSpot is a content advertising platform. Many brands have done a great job of creating incredibly valuable, beautiful content, but they often find it’s extraordinarily difficult to get it in front of the right people. We help brands build meaningful audiences for their owned and earned content to drive business results by promoting their content in a very unique way. Our specialty is not just distributing content, but serially placing multiple pieces of content in front of the same user, individually targeted to their demonstrated interests. We call this capability Content Sequencing, and it’s something that only we offer. We’re complementary to AirPR in that we’re focused more on content distribution and sequencing.

SL: Which problem is your platform trying to solve?

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Adam Singer on analytics, Jack Bauer, and PR success

When you’re a relatively new company, attempting to do something please don’t say disruptive or innovative here um, hmmmm, new… it’s extremely important to watch for influencers in your industry who have insights or opinions about what you’re doing.

Exhibit A: “Adam takes off the gloves”

AS rant

Adam Singer, who currently spends his days at the Google Compound Complex as Analytics Advocate, and moonlights as a forward thinking PR critic and founder of The Future Buzz, is one such person.

As you can see from Exhibit A, when we publicly launched our first product (Marketplace) he had a few opinions…which we welcomed.

OH! How boring life would be without challengers and dissenters!

Over the past year we’ve visited Adam at Google, lunched with him in San Francisco, awarded him a very prestigious “PRTech Award,” and even swapped quippy company T-shirts with him. Ahh, yes, this is a true PR match made in heaven. But it did take time.

Exhibit B: “Sharam and Adam play nicey poo”

AS SFM

Now, we bring you this illustrious – if not “coming out of sorts” – interview with one of our favorite Advocates.

Rebekah Iliff: Let’s start with an easy one. Can you tell us about your background and how your experience with PR has shaped your story?

Adam Singer: While in college, I was a total geek and created websites and grew digital communities in my free time (and monetized them instead of getting a part-time job). It was only after I entered the workforce and decided to get a “real job” that I ended up getting a trial by fire in PR. After my internship I ended up being hired as an account executive for a PR agency in Fort Lauderdale in 2005.

I hadn’t really studied PR save for a few journalism electives in college, but it turned out that my experience as a geek prepared me really well for the “new world” of PR.

Thrusting a social web, power user into the mix of a traditional PR agency early on proved to be valuable experience not just for me, but for my agency who promoted me from an account executive, to manager, to ultimately digital director within my first two years.

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Courting the Queen of Measurement: Katie Delahaye Paine

When we first started speaking with our “circle of trust” over a year ago in preparation for our Analyst launch, one name came up over and over again:

Katie Delahaye Paine.

Known by many as the “Queen of Measurement” (#QOM), she has been in the PR biz forever and runs a successful consultancy focused on PR Measurement. She regularly speaks on the subject, and is tapped for expert opinion on the evolving PR landscape.

Take, for example, her recent shout out surrounding the Vocus-Cision merger.

Not to spoil the interview, but she will say things like: “I can only speculate that stupid people doing dumb things don’t want to be measured.”

Well, I couldn’t agree more. I would also add that people doing small things don’t want to be measured.

Oh, and this: “The big shift has been away from HITS – how idiots track success –  towards more meaningful business oriented metrics that are tied to web analytics or opinion shifts.”

Sassy, irreverent, and not afraid to speak her mind, we bring you an interview with #QOM which will likely make you that much smarter.

Read on for more #QOMisms. They are JUST. SO. GOOD.

Katie Delahaye Paine headshotRebekah Iliff: You’ve been a pioneer in the field of measurement for more than twenty years. What’s kept your metrics fire burning bright after all these years?

Katie Delahaye Paine: One of the core beliefs I learned early on in my career was that you have to love the people you work with. I have been privileged throughout my career to work with the smartest most innovative communications professionals in the business. I can only speculate that stupid people doing dumb things don’t want to be measured, but for whatever reason I love the people I get to work with, love solving their problems, and love the challenges, especially when they say “we’ve never been able to measure what we do” – because chances are good, I can figure out a way to measure it.

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Serena Ehrlich from Business Wire sets the record straight

DON’T FORGET: The 5th Annual PR Summit in San Francisco is 1 month away! Be sure to buy your tickets. Here’s 20% off because we love you: http://bit.ly/1iXXuWE

Back in the fall of 2013, I wrote this blog post where I equated the press release to that annoying guy nobody wants to invite to a party, but for some reason everyone feels obligated to invite.

This type of behavior (inviting unwanted guests) entirely eludes me – probably because I’m not nice. Or something like that.

Truth be told, however, being nice has its distinct advantages. Namely: you tend to have a higher quality of life and meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. These people, the ones you may have otherwise ignored while clinging for dear life to your bitchy resting face, can end up being great advocates for you…if you take the time to get to know them, understand where they’re coming from, and ultimately relinquish your propensity to thinking “hey, I’m usually always right.”

In a moment of weakness, niceness, and extroversion, I accepted an invitation to a PR gathering in San Francisco hosted by Paul Wilke (whom I adore), the founder of @UprightComms. While there, over an assortment of wine and charcuterie, I met a woman by the name of Serena Ehrlich – who just happened to be the very friendly Director of Social and Evolving Media at Business Wire.

Oh, and she was also named the “top 25 women in mobile to watch”, “25 women who rock social media”, “best social media blogger for PR”, and a various assortment of other titles that tend to intimidate-slash-excite me.

In true social media culture fashion, we spoke to each other briefly in person at the little gathering but quickly launched a rather heated Twitter affair – which is entirely appropriate given her skill sets. We have serendipitously run into each other at PR-related events over the past year, the last of which was the “PR News’ PR Measurement Conference” in Washington DC – where Serena graciously gave me her perspective on why newswires are still relevant (despite Google’s algo updates and my seeming disdain for press releases) and how we can measure their impact more effectively.

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Spin May Suck, But Gini Dietrich Rocks

Have you ever had a moment in time where you’re thinking “wow, I’m on top of the world, I really know my $h!t” only to have your ego (rightly) deflated after a serendipitous brush with someone who, in actuality, is much more on top of it than you?

If that had ever happened to me, it would have likely happened when I came Twitter-face to Twitter-face with one Gini Dietrich.

Gini is the Angelina Jolie of the PR world IMHO.

She makes us all look like slackers. Just when you think she can’t possibly do ONE MORE THING a conversation like this happens:

Me: Hey Gini, whatcha doing?

Gini: Hi! So great to hear from you! I’m getting ready to speak on a panel in about 5 minutes on the future of PR.

Me: Oh geeez, should I call you back?

Gini: No, no, it’s totally fine. Right after that I have to jump on a plane and go to my book signing in New York.

Me: Oh wow, ok, well thanks for taking the time to speak with me.

Gini: No problem! It’s absolutely my pleasure. Can you hold for one second please…my husband is on the other line and he’s calling because my son is having this thing, and I need to conduct an emergency tracheotomy via satellite before I jump on stage. BRB.

Me: (Inner dialogue: I’m a loser) Sure, oh my God, no problem.

All (slight joking) aside, I caught up with Gini fresh on the heels of her Spin Sucks book launch…a book I highly recommend to anyone looking to get up to speed on this crazy PR evolution we’re experiencing.

Soak up Gini’s wise words, she’s a class PR act….

Rebekah Iliff: Let’s start with an simple one: What makes you so passionate about PR?

Gini Dietrich: I suppose it’s just from being in the industry as long as I have. I mean, what? I’ve only been out of college for five years. 🙂 Truly it’s because I don’t think we do a great job of doing our own PR. There are so many misconceptions about what we do (and don’t do) that it makes me a little nuts. I come from the line of thinking that if you don’t like something, you should do something about it.

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